How can we act now to create the best future for the Australian Geospatial Industry? How to bridge the industry-academia divide and engage effectively with other industries for collaboration and innovation? Young Professionals are the key – let’s explore the challenges and opportunities they face, and how the industry can come together to support its future from what we have learnt through the SSSI National Young Professionals Mentoring Program and the Locate19 Young Professionals Symposium.
In the Australian geospatial industry, young professionals have a swathe of opportunities in front of them, but also a series of challenges that, if overcome effectively, will mean a very bright and strategic future within a global context. This talk will discuss findings from the Young Professionals Symposium held at Locate19 and the SSSI National Young Professionals Mentoring Program 2018 and 2019 about the skill-based needs of young professionals and the opportunities they can offer to the industry.
There is a divide between industry and academia, perhaps largely a communication disconnect – which if overcome would create more job-ready graduates equipped with appropriate and broad technical knowledge as well as a foundation of the necessary soft skills for long-term career success. Our industry lacks clear visibility of career pathways for graduates, those coming into the industry after working in other industries, and those professionals who would like to progress in technical, management, administrative and business pathways. A perhaps larger issue is the lack of clarity with which we as an industry speak about ourselves and market to those outside of our industry - other industries we work with or people looking to enter our industry at primary school/high school level, tertiary level and people coming into the industry after working in other industries.
Diversity and inclusion present an interesting challenge in this technical, traditionally male-dominated industry. While one aspect of this is to support women, people of different cultural backgrounds etc into the industry, a sometimes-forgotten aspect of this is the fight for greater visibility and provision of opportunities to young professionals to prove themselves. With an established negative correlation between age and innovation, younger people in the workforce sometimes find it difficult to get their ideas and initiatives heard or supported because they are perceived as less capable due to age. Perhaps this is a result of generational communication disconnects, cultural norms, and more established professionals being unsure whether the legacies they are working hard to build will be maintained.
Our industry is facing a soft skills crisis. The overwhelming success of the SSSI National Young Professionals Mentoring Program shows that there is demand to change this. In 2018 the program had 82 graduates, compared to 234 starting the program in 2019 – an almost 300% increase in people showing their dedication to and thirst for sharing professional knowledge and wisdom between generations in the industry. Yet why do we still shy away from valuing soft skills?
A large part of supporting a stronger future Australian geospatial industry – perhaps the most important part – is gaining the support of the wider industry, the ‘young-at-heart’ professionals. This presents perhaps the largest challenge, not by design but by legacy. Why is this the case, and how can we best unite to overcome this?
This presentation will define and interactively discuss some of the challenges facing young professionals in our industry today and discuss potential avenues to address these – join in for a chance to see the difference you could make for our industry’s future.
Time & room
2.00 pm–2.30 pm in City Room 2
Miss Roshni Sharma Chair, National Young Professionals